Founded in 1954, Les Roches Global Hospitality Education with an international network of campuses, offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in the fields of hospitality, tourism and event management. Nicolas Graf, the chief academic officer of Les Roches Worldwide shares about the institution, global trends in the industry, and the future of hospitality entrepreneurship.
Q With the field of hospitality picking up pace, what are the various new avenues that are opening up?
Les Roches recently published a study titled The Future of Hospitality Entrepreneurship, examining five key trends that are disrupting the hospitality industry and creating opportunities for entrepreneurs. The report was conducted with Skift, a US-based business information company focused on travel and tourism.
Among the trends identified are the growth of the ecosystem around accommodation sharing and category leader Airbnb, the importance of digital services for the hotel guest experience, the concept of “living like a local” and how food and beverage are driving the hospitality standards of the future. More and more travellers plan their trips around food, and shun businesses with subpar food offerings, leading hospitality businesses to rethink their approach.
Q What are the hospitality courses available?
We prepare entrepreneurial and innovative graduates across a global network of campuses in Switzerland, Spain, the US and China. The Bachelor of business administration in international hotel management is our flagship programme, spanning threeand-a-half years and including two semester-long internships and specialisations in event management, entrepreneurship, marketing, finance, innovation and sustainability and health and wellness management. We offer postgraduate diplomas for career-changers wishing to enter the hospitality sector, as well as more strategic master degrees for professionals aiming at an executive career in the global hospitality, tourism or services industries.
Q How is the holistic education imparted at Les Roches, different from the hospitality courses available in India?
The unique Swiss education model combines theoretical and practical courses, complemented by mandatory internships with leading hospitality and related businesses across the globe. Building on a network of campuses students have the opportunity to transfer between some of the most established and rapidly emerging destinations in terms of travel and tourism. Our curricula are divided into the sections- professional development, entrepreneurial competencies and general education, each one focused on developing specific aptitudes in order for graduates to be fully prepared to take on managerial responsibilities upon graduation.
Q How does the pedagogy of the hospitality courses help a student to meet global standards of luxury in the industry?
Apart from professional competencies, we develop students’ self-confidence and discipline. They are required to adhere to a strict dress and conduct code, which is part of their preparation for successful entry into the professional world. Due to the international environment on our campuses with up to 90 different nationalities, students develop a strong set of intercultural competencies that are a strong asset in any sector of today's global economy. It is the educational model combining several factors that make our institutions special.
Q With Indians showing interest in studying aboard more than ever, what would you like to say about your Indian alumni?
With an alumni network of over 12,000 members, Les Roches graduates are as diverse as the countries they work in. Over the years, many Indian students have studied at Les Roches for its excellent reputation on the sub-continent and either went back to launch their career in the dynamic Indian hospitality market, while others decided to stay abroad and discover other booming destinations. A strong characteristic of our Indian cohort is their inherent sense of entrepreneurship.
Q With the rising trends of digitalisation today, what are the avenues of digital services in the hospitality industry?
With more than 4.3 billion mobile phone users worldwide, the “mobile revolution” is transforming many industries and the hospitality sector is no exception. The smartphone is becoming travellers’ de facto hotel "remote control” to handle everything from ordering hospitality services to finding local information. Staff at the W Hotel in Paris use mobile messaging service WhatsApp to answer guest queries, while guests of Virgin Hotels’ flagship property in Chicago use their mobile device to control everything from room temperature to ordering room service. A range of entrepreneurs and established hospitality companies are using these technologies to develop new concepts to create revenue streams and offer additional value to guests, while competing against home stays and Airbnb.
Q What is the placement record of Les Roches globally?
We maintain excellent relations with the world’s leading hospitality and related businesses, who regularly visit our campuses to present their companies and directly recruit talent for internships and entry-level positions. Due to these industry contacts, we boast consistently high employment numbers.